Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Meet me in Canada (Surrey, B.C.) on April 19, 2006

I am blessed to have been invited to record an interview with the Marriage Uncensored television program produced by Family Life of Canada. They are seeking people to fill a live studio audience in Surrey, B.C. (not too far from the border for those of you in Washington State) on April 19 from 6:30-8:30ish.

A Hannah's Prayer member who works at Family Life will be organizing a casual reception on the same day, probably around 1:00-3:00pm at a nearby location. Because I will have our newborn son with me, we aren't able to make this a child-free event, but I pray that many will still consider coming as I would love to meet you! If you interested in attending either the television recording or the reception, please e-mail Christie at and she will keep you posted on the details.

If you live anywhere in B.C. or the U.S. Pacific Northwest, please be sure to read the following blog entry as well!

Speaking in Washington state in April, 2006

I will be speaking at a women's luncheon at First Baptist Church in Everett, Washington on Saturday, April 22. This event will be open to women in the community, Hannah's Prayer members and Hannah's Hope readers. The church website will have registration information available at a future date.

The topics will not be restricted to infertility, but I will be speaking on issues such as seeking God in waiting seasons and coping with prayers that seem to go unanswered. So that you are not unprepared, if all goes as planned, I will be bringing our 2-month-old son with me to this event (too far to travel without him) but my sister-in-law will be available to help care for him during while I'm speaking.

I will probably be in Washington state for about a week total (less the couple of days mid-visit to go up to Canada as you see in the above blog entry) and will be staying with my brother's family in Auburn. If anyone is interested in getting together while I'm there, please let me know. I'm not sure what I will have as far as transportation goes, but I would love to meet you if you are in the area. The best options for my schedule would to be meeting you either in Canada on the 19th or at the Everett lunch on the 22nd, but if you can't make either of these dates, please get in touch with me and see if we can figure out other options.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


Here's another beautiful reflection from the heart of one of the ladies from Hannah's Prayer. Kara (age 26) and Derric (28) have been trying to conceive since August, 2000. He had a bilateral varicocele 3/03, she had a laparoscopy 5/04 finding stage 4 endometriosis, the two IUIs they did the summer of 2004 were unsucessful, and the IVF cycle they did in January 2005 yielded 2 babies born to Heaven: Isaiah Anthony-Shay and Moriah Faith(God is my teacher to trust, carried 14 weeks 5 days). An August IVF again brought about a positive pregnancy test, but Koen Job (brave afflicted one) was born to Heaven September 26, 2005 at 8 weeks. Fur babies (kittens) Sierra and Cindari are a daily comfort in a dark time.

Psalms 34:18 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

So for over five years I have been asking God WHY?
Why can't I have a baby?
Why can the drug addicted teenager have one?
Why can some women have 8 and I can't even have just one?
Why can't you be a little more fair in the gifts of children?
Why did you allow me to get preg when you took my babies away?
Why did you take my children who I love?
Why? Why? Why?
I have cried out to God so many times and just asked this question. Sometimes it is all I can say. I cannot fathom what the answer could be.
A few days ago I realized that I will never know until I get to heaven and ask God himself so asking over and over again is not going to get me to far. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Well meaning people say that it is all in God's plan and that there is a reason. Hmmmm. I don't think anyone could come up with a good reason for my children dying. No other child will replace my children in heaven.
We cannot control our circumstances. All I can do is make the best with what I have been given. God wants to see how I will respond to my circumstances but it doesn't mean He is happy I am in them. This fallen world will never be fair, I guess that is why it isn't heaven.
So I am going to start and ask myself and God different questions.
What can I do here to be productive for my heavenly Father?
Who can I reach while I am here and help others who are hurting?
Where do you want us today?
When do you want us to pursure more treatment or adoption?

Thanks for letting me share my new questions that are more possible to be answered here on earth. I am trying to rest in the fact that I will know why, just not this side of heaven.

(c) Copyright Kara Ungaro, 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

Infertility and pregnancy/infant loss awareness dates

The entire month of October is designated as "Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month" next week (October 23-29, 2005) will be National Infertility Awareness Week.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day

Today is a special day to remember our beloved babies who await us in Heaven. More information

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

How Hannah Ministered to a Single "Woman In Waiting" (for a Husband)

I was engaged at 18 and married two weeks after my 20th birthday. I can relate to years of crying out to God in longing for a husband about as well as a woman who gets pregnant her first month trying to conceive and carries to term without a glitch can say "I know just how you feel!" to an infertile woman. Yet, though I do not know this experientially, I've always felt that the infertility journey must have many parallels to being single and longing for marriage. I can't say, "I understand," but my heart still is tender toward those longing not only for motherhood but for the closeness and fellowship of life partnership as well.

With this having been said, it is a blessing to me to begin hearing from single woman who have been blessed, challenged or encouraged by Hannah's story. I would like to share an excerpt of one such letter that shows how the active and living Word of God can have far-reaching effects. Shauna Bowman has been gracious enough to let me print her story:

I probably should warn you this is a fan letter of sorts, for both you and Hannah. I just finished Hannah's Hope and I am so blessed, encouraged, impressed and inspired.

First of all, I think you are now my latest and greatest hero. I am so impressed with your work on your book and how many thousands of lives you have touched through your ministries. God truly knows how blessed I've been to find Hannah's Prayer. Having been unable to get a hold of anyone [at my local pregnancy loss support organization for Arizona], I don't know what I would do floundering on my own without HP.

There were so many things in the book that I found myself identifying with that I never expected. First off, I guess I should tell you where I'm coming from. I have an almost 2 year old boy and I just had a pretty nasty miscarriage -- you've responded to my posts, but I don't expect you to remember everybody here! I've never considered myself infertile, but I've always been a big fan of Hannah's.

In fact, when I was pregnant with my son, I was on bedrest for 2 months. Like you mentioned you did in the book, I started to journal through the Bible page by page for every mention of pregnancy. I got a lot of really encouraging material and last year I decided I should try to make a book out of it, maybe a devotional for pregnant women or something of the sort. I started writing quite a bit, but then when I got to Hannah last winter I just hit a block and have been stumped ever since. I think God had me hold off for several reasons, but losing my own baby has completely opened my eyes to a world of hurting women I never really acknowledged existed before.

I had identified with Hannah myself before though, but from a different angle. I was nearly 27 when I got married, not because I was too busy working on a career or I couldn't make a commitment, but because, in my estimation at the time, nobody wanted me. I now realize how awesome it is that God saved me for my precious husband (I can't imagine a better guy!), but those years of waiting and wondering if marriage and motherhood were not what God had in His plans for me were agonizing.

All I ever wanted was to be a mom, really, and here I was being denied the desire of my heart because I had no man to even make that a possibility. I suppose to most, 27 isn't really that old-- and in retrospect I'm so grateful for the life I had prior to getting married-- but I had been waiting so long, I'd pretty much given up hope. I'd even jokingly said, as a teenager, if I wasn't married (or at least had some serious prospects) by the time I was 25 I was going to hang myself. Well my 25th birthday came and went with no "prospects" and I was devastated. For some reason, that was the point of no return for me.

A few months later, my little sister (3 years younger) newly married came to me in a state of panic over her positive pregnancy test-- she was especially upset that she wouldn't be able to ride the "good rides" at Disneyland because she was now pregnant. I was even more devastated. I couldn't understand why everyone I knew and loved was being given this great blessing of marriage and family when I was being denied. So I got down on my knees and took Hannah's example and wept for a child (following a husband, of course). I had peace for a short time after that point and then a month and a half later Robert asked me out.

Anyway, I'm just mentioning all that to say I was amazed at how much in your book rang true to me in that stage of my life. I remember detesting Mother's Day every year of my twenties until I got married. Especially in my little churches, I'd often be lumped in with teenage girls because I was single while women younger than me got to sit at the "big girl" tables simply because they were married. (I even got demoted to the kid's table the first Thanksgiving after my sister got married so that there would be room for her husband.) Of course, there was always the default Bible study for people that didn't qualify for the married or mothers studies, but even that stung. I remember crying over my period-- I know it's no where near the pain of trying and being unable to conceive-- but it was just another reminder that I was alone.

Having said all that, now I'm 30. And just when I thought I could have learned all I could from Hannah, I had to give a child back to the Lord. It's been so hard, so much more than I could ever have imagined. So many things in your book that people say and that I feel coincide.

I'm so very grateful that you have written this book. I will be recommending the crud out of it. It's just amazing how God can really trade beauty for ashes... Thank you for being so willing to share.
God bless you!

(c) Copyright Shauna Bowman, 2005

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My baby would be 10-years-old

This past weekend was the 10-year anniversary of Noel's due date. Given my track record for early labor, she probably would have actually been born in August, but every "Labor Day" weekend I can't help but stop and reflect on the knowledge that I was due to have been "in labor" this weekend in 1995.

In fact, had we had gotten pregnant as quickly as we would have liked, I could have been a mother of a 12-year-old by now! Two neighborhood kids just celebrated their 10th birthdays this summer. The 12-year-old a street over is named Alexis (Noel's middle name). Ongoing reminders... These are the mind-boggling and continual losses of infertility. I am ever-so-thankful for the joy of mothering the precious children God has so graciously granted me here on earth, but as I raise preschoolers, my heart sometimes wanders to the "what ifs" and "could have beens" and I still grieve for what/who is not.

The crushing grief is not what it was 10 years ago when the anguish of loss was so fresh and our arms so very empty. The pain is not as sharp as it was even 6 1/2 years ago when we were still struggling through primary infertility. Or 4 years ago when we finally had a living child in our home but grieved the back-to-back losses of Joel and Hannah and the ongoing reality of secondary infertility. But even today, as a carry this new preious life within my womb, I must stop and recognize that grief has left a lifetime imprint on my heart.

Happy 10th birthday, our precious Noel Alexis. Mommy still misses you, Little One. I am so very thankful for the hope of Heaven.

Here is an article I recently wrote in reflection of another friend's loss:

Seeing Face to Face

My baby died. I find myself clinging to the only comfort I can find in this sickening sea of grief - knowing that my child is safe, beyond the grasp of human frailty and pain. When I think of Heaven it is with new eagerness, with a longing to see my child’s face and hold him in my arms. I read that my focus in Heaven will be on worshiping the Lamb, but today my mother’s heart is too broken to even imagine this reality, for my longing is for my own “little lamb” for whom I eagerly await our reunion in Eternity. Today it feels like the “eternity” that separates us will never end, but I must trust that this earthly life is truly a vapor and that in the grand scheme of time, I will be with my precious child again very soon.

Had he lived to be 100-years-old here on this earth, I never could have fully conveyed to him my heart. But in the blink-of-an-eye that we did have together, how could he even begin to grasp my depth of love for him? Did he feel comfort and security in my womb? Did the sound of my voice ever ease his fears?

Does he know that he was wanted, yearned for, prayed for, eagerly anticipated? Does he know that I would have willingly traded my life in a heartbeat to spare his? From the glory of Heaven, does he retain even one memory of the brief blip that was his time on earth? Does he too await our reunion with anticipation?

While my head knows that my baby is probably so busy worshiping before the Throne to really “miss” me at all, I can’t help but put my human limitations on him when I dream of his life. My baby and I both have limited horizons, such narrow ability to grasp the other’s present reality. I am a prisoner to human emotion, bound by time, space and earthly perspective. He is impaired by an inability to grasp life outside the borderless, timeless, painless beauty of living in the presence of the Son. If faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see, I must cling to that faith as my mind tries to grasp this awesome, unseen, unknown, unfathomable World that my baby now calls Home.

I want to imagine my child running to me with outstretched arms the moment I cross into Glory. I want to daydream that he is longing to see my face with even a fraction of the anticipation I feel when I think of seeing his. I want to delight at the thought of following my own precious “tour-guide” around those golden streets as we both revel in simply being together. And maybe these beautiful visions aren’t too far from reality, for Scripture does promise that we will know one another and fellowship There. But I wonder how much we will focus on the earthly bonds we once shared when we are in the presence of the King together, as co-heirs with Christ? I see it all as a poor reflection through cloudy glass right now. How I long to know what it will truly be like to know my child, even as I am fully known.

How does God perceive my Homecoming? Just as I crave to think of my baby in eagerness awaiting me at those Gates of Pearl, does the Lord long for my heightened anticipation of my first face-to-face meeting with my Father? Just as my baby “knew love” in the fullest manner a tiny infant possibly could, how far short of grasping the reality of His love for me does my heart fall? Perhaps my limited expectations of Heaven offer a better perspective on the realities of Eternity than I have stopped to realize before. For everything I am hoping and feeling and longing for in missing my baby, perhaps these reflect the feelings my Father has toward me.

Lord, help me to fully entrust my child to you, both in the present and in my hopes and dreams for our future together. You are the Author of life, of love, of family. You understand this mother’s heart and my longing to know my child and be fully known by him. Help me to more fully grasp your Father’s heart toward me as we await Reunion Day.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
- 1 Corinthians 13:12

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Infertility Poem by Shanda Springfield

One of my readers, Shanda Springfield, recently emailed me this beautiful poem written from the depths of the heart of a mother waiting for her arms to be filled. Shanda, thank you for putting so many of our feelings to words. I pray this peom will bless all of you as it did me:

My heart cries out in anguish
For the child I haven't conceived
Why do I feel such sorrow,
How can I be so grieved?
Like a part of me is missing
Yet it was never even here,
I always thought it was time
To hold my child so dear.
I lie awake most nights
Pondering how it should be,
"By my age," I always said,
"I'll have two or three."
Life never seems to turn out
The way I want it to
But I know God's plan is perfect,
And his love forever true.
There are still those who criticize
And tell me all I'm doing wrong,
I'm learning to ignore them,
They will not steal my song.
I have faith in God
I believe his will is best,
But still I am human
And go through many tests.
With all this said, I pray today,
"Not my will, but thine,
I am only a branch,
But, Lord, you are the vine."

by: Shanda Springfield
May 25, 2005

Shanda hopes to start up an infertility support group in Monroe, Louisiana in October, 2005. For more information, email Shanda at

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Memorial ideas for your baby in Heaven

I don't know the personal background of each website and what they all stand for (so I can't promise that there might not be some New Age kind of information, etc. on a few), but some of
the products are pretty special on each site. If you need a special memorial keepsake for your baby, I pray that you will find just the right thing to comfort your heart.

Preciouas Feet company

A Place to Remember

Quiet Refuge

BestToYou - try different searches such as "tear," "heart," or "comfort." Also see the general
jewelry links.

Another idea would be those "kid" necklace charms for a mother's necklace. Rick bought me one last year for Christmas and I have charms for my two living kids as well as charms for each of our three miscarried babies. Mine are all regular "kid" charms, but when we did a grandmother necklace for my mom, I actually found "angel" charms to represent my miscarried
babies (not that I think they are angels because I know they are still people, but simply to represent that they are in Heaven rather than on earth). Mervyn's carries theses and J.C.Penneys used to. I believe other stores do as well.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Celebrating 13 years of marriage (and miscarriage resources for husbands)

We are headed out of town for our 13 wedding anniversary this weekend. What a long-short time it has been! Rick's been part of my life for nearly half of my lifetime now (will be exactly half in another 3 years) and it's hard to remember life without him. So much has happened over the years that it doesn't seem possible it has only been 13 since we said our vows. And yet, I can go back to the memories of our wedding day in a heartbeat, and it seems just as impossible that we have actually been married for so long!

Thinking of my wonderful husband today, I wanted to share some resources for men who are trying to cope with miscarriage. There is a short little booklet, not specifically Christian based but one I found pretty good, called Miscarriage: A Man's Book. There is also a list of books For the Father Whose Wife Had a Miscarriage on Amazon - I don't know about every book on the list, but some are definitely Christian titles. You might want to read through the reviews and see if there are any that seem of interest.

The site was down when I just tried to access it, so I don't know if they are still around or not, but there used to be a group (again, not specifically Christian, but still a good place for support) called StillFathers for men who were the fathers of stillborn and miscarried babies. You might give this link a few tries in the coming days and see if they are still around.

Hannah's Prayer also offers a small email group for Christian men coping with infertility. If you are the husband of a woman involved in the HP Community Forums message boards, feel free to join HP Husbands.

I know this isn't much by way of support, but unfortunately there isn't a lot out there. Please, if you know of other helpful resources for men, share them in the Comments section below!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Resources for Support Groups

Sorry to have missed another week's blog. We had out of town company and I just let it slide while enjoying my sister-in-law and nephews. :) While we are now all passing a nasty little tummy bug around the family, I finally have a chance to get back online a bit.

I received an email a couple weeks ago asking a pretty common question. "How do I start a local support group?" After composing an answer for this woman, I decided that this might be good information to post here for anyone else who is looking. If you know of other helpful resources, please don't hesitate to add them to the comments section! For anyone considering allowing God to take your heartache and use you to His glory in reaching out to others, I praise God for giving you this heart's desire. A basic article on starting/running infertility support groups is here.

At Laura's adoption blog you will find a lot of great information compiled by a woman who has successfully led an adoption/infertility ministry. As it is very adoption-focused, it may not all apply to your situation, but you can probably glean a lot of great ideas. Scroll down a bit, just below all the category links to where you find "Laura's picks" then a blurb on my book...keep reading from there and you will find so much!

If you call Stepping Stones at 1-800-613-3188 and request back newsletter number SS.957.NL(Finding Support) there is very helpful basic information here. As you get started, be sure to also register your group with Stepping Stones so they can add you to their contact list.

As always, I highly recommend the book The Ache for a Child by Debra Bridwell. While it is now out of print, it is still available through sites like (I've also created a list of my favorite infertility and loss books on Amazon if you are interested in this resource.) Debra helped start a very successful infertility support group out in California years ago and there are many references to this group in her book.

If your group is going to be church-based, I encourage you to start by looking at the biggest "pain trigger" issues within your own church then brainstorming with a few other couples about the best way to balance these needs. For example, if your church does monthly baby dedications but also offers Sunday School classes running in conjunction with service times, might baby dedication Sundays be good days to offer special support group meeting days? One church that seems to have a really neat infertility ministry is Watermark Community - I've not talked to the leaders directly, but their website is impressive.

Another great model for grief support is the GriefShare organization.

And while dealing with a whole different topic (chronic pain and health issues), many of the methods used by the Rest Ministries Hope Keepers groups can be very helpful in planning and organizing your group as well.

I look forward to seeing what God does with your willing hearts! If you are starting (or already running) a group in your area, I would love to know about it. Please add details about your group to the "comments" below so that other blog visitors can connect with you. Also, be sure to stop by the Hannah's Prayer Community Forums and join us in the support group forum under the "leadership" section of the message boards.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

From the Hand of the Lord...

I've been rather out of commission the past couple weeks. What started as simple sinus allergies quickly progressed into a nasty, full-blown sinus infection. I'm feeling much better now, but even after 10 days of antibiotics, my ears are still stuffy and a nagging sore throat remains. With daily temperatures in the 100s and not having our normal nightly "high desert" cooling effect most nights, the constant recirculation of dry air pumping through our air conditioner isn't helping either. (I'm not looking forward to seeing this month's power bill, but am very thankful that at least we have air conditioning!)

With an overactive immune system I have a mixed blessing. While I pretty much always feel like I "have the flu," because my body is already in "attack mode," I don't tend to come down with every little bug that comes around like I did as a child. But when I do get sick, when a virus or infection or something overcomes my body's already-heightened defense system, I get really sick. That's where I've been these past couple weeks. I'm still struggling to get my feet back under me and get back to my "normal" state of "usual" not feeling good.

Unfortunately, when I get sick I also get grumpy and tend to want to have a pity party. "Lord, isn't it enough that I always feel yucky. Why do I have to cope with this on top of daily living with a chronic illness." Or, on the infertility front, this questions might come out sounding more like, "Isn't it bad enough that I have to live with the pain of Endometriosis? Why does it have to be so hard to get pregnant too?" Or, "Lord, weren't all those years trying to get pregnant enough 'testing'? Why a miscarriage once you finally allowed us to conceive?" Or, "Father, why allow us to fall so in love with this baby when you knew the birth family would end up changing their minds?"

In reading a bit of Job's story today I was convicted. "Job's wife said to him, 'Why are you trying to stay innocent? Curse God and die?'
"Job answered, 'You are talking like a foolish woman. Should we take only good things from God and not trouble?' In spite of all this Job did not sin in what he said" (Job 2:9-10, NIV).

Here was a man that was so upright, so holy before the Lord, that God Himself points out Job as "an honest and innocent man, honoring God and staying away from evil" (Job 1:8). And yet, moreover because of his innocence, Job is singled out for trials by Satan. It is interesting to note that at first God limits Satan to only take Job's "possessions" (this was one of the world's wealthiest men) but not touch his body. So in a matter of hours Job lost his entire family (except for his less-than-encouraging wife), and all his vast earthly possessions.

I am in awe to read that the deaths of all ten of his children and other incalculable monetary losses left Job saying,
"I was naked when I was born,
and I will be naked when I die.
The LORD gave these things to me,
and he has taken them away.
Praise the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).

As if all this grief wasn't enough, Satan then went back and asked permission to strike Job physically. God gave him free reign with Job's body up to (but not including) the point of death. In physical and emotional anguish unlike anything most of us will ever know, Job cursed the day of his birth and he threw many questions toward God in his utter despair, yet his core faith in God's sovereignty never wavered. In the midst of great physical anguish and in the aftermath of unspeakable emotional devastation, Job went on to endure with grace the insult and unjust judgment of "friends" who brought only condemnation.

With this example before me, who am I to demand only good from the hand of the Lord? I have such a long way to go in learning to trust God in all things. It is a comfort to realize that, like Job, my trials are limited by God's grace and I am not left at the mercy of the Destroyer who is given limitless reign to harm me. While I am discouraged and prone to self-pity, I need to remember that all me blessings come from the hand of the Lord. It is His grace that sustains me daily. In good and in bad, blessed be the name of the Lord!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Not keeping to Wednesday schedule very well

OK, so it's Thursday evening again. Can we just pretend it's still Wednesday so I'm not late in posting again?

My "Focus on Adoption" radio broadcast (see June 8 blog entry) airs July 5. If you can't catch it locally, maybe you can listen online.

I haven't gotten very far on the articles I'm wanting to write for magazine submissions. I have lots of ideas, but don't seem to have the hours or brain-power to put them onto paper. Thanks for your prayers on this matter. I really feel that the articles need to get out there, but for encouragement/education of those who will read the articles themselves, but also to help with book promotion and sales.

The master bathroom is still an ongoing project, as is our back yard. We will probably be going to a BBQ at a neighbor's house on July 4th and hanging out around home the rest of the weekend. I'm pretty sick lately, so we'll keep the holiday weekend rather low key I suspect. I am praising the Lord that the job He has provided for my husband gives him the holiday weekend off - we have had our share of working holidays and weekends over the years, so we cherish the blessing. I also have several friends who are currently without employment at all, so again, reminders for thanksgiving for how the Lord has provided for us.

--children mentioned below--

Joshua has been in Vacation Bible School (he had baseball camp last week) and we are preparing to start back into homeschooling next Wednesday. Ruth is a bundle of energy and can't understand why she can't do everything big brother gets to do. Praising the Lord for good news so far with the baby (more info here). Life is busy and blessed!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wednesday Again...Blogging Day :)

In the few weeks since I've started, I'm already finding myself looking forward to Wednesdays and sharing my life. While I was a day late last week, prayerfully trying to decide when how to make that post, I am trying to keep to a weekly schedule of blogging. I've been off on my days all week, so I honestly thought today (Tuesday) was already Wednesday when I started writing, but I guess being a day early this week makes up for being a day late last week?

On the home front, our house is still in a state of chaos with our master bathroom. While we were sealed out of it for two weeks, we are glad to currently be able to at least walk back into that room, albeit without flooring or a shower! Hopefull the additional shower demolition happens tomorrow and reconstruction starts before the end of the week. The blessing in all this is it looks like our builder is giving us a complimentary upgrade in tile flooring to help compensate for some of this trouble. I will be so glad when this process if finally over and we get our whole home back.

Last week we had a horrible wind storm. Now, this normally wouldn't be big news - Nevada has LOTS of wind! But I forgot I had opened our bedroom sliding door earlier in the day. And basically all the contents of our master closet are sitting in piles around our bedroom because of the shower situation and our lack of access to the closet. So, when I went into our room about half an hour into the windstorm, I found what seemed to be half of the dirt from our unfinished back yard sitting in our bedroom! The carpet was caked in dry mud. The bedding and piles of clothing looked like someone had dumped a couple of bags worth of playground sand all over them. Everything was covered in a think layer of dust and grit. And I was in tears!

My sweet husband came home from work early and helped me spend the evenings washing bedding, shaking out clothes, vacuuming, dusting, vacuuming some more, and making the room semi-habitable again. What a guy! Our friends invited Joshua to spend the night and the entire next day, then had our whole family over for dinner the next night. (This had already been planned, but I was ever-so-appreciative of a day to really clean and not have to worry about meals.) In the midst of a storm, God's grace still shines.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Surprising News - Praying for Hurting Hearts as You Read

I have been praying so hard about how/when to post this. While I know that many of you will rejoice with me, sometimes as a sacrifice to the Lord through your own tears, I also know the news will sting so many hearts. So, with much prayer, I share our stunned, joyful, hopeful, fearful, nervous news of a new pregnancy.

I am committed to not turning this blog into a pregnancy journal, thus, if you are interested in following the ongoing progress of our pregnancy, please visit our new family news blog (I suggest you "right click" and "open link in new window" to break out of frames for easier reading). For those able to share in our joy, thank you. For those reading with broken hearts, please know I am sharing in your tears and holding you in prayer.

While I am ever-so-thankful to find myself (hopefully) about to become the mother of three living miracles, I struggle with the Lord, asking Him over and over, "Why me and not _____________ (so many specific names fill my prayers in this spot, along with the countless women I've only just begun to meet though Hannah's Hope)?" It just doesn't seem fair. But God is proving to me once again that any control I may think I have over the growth of my family one way or the other, is an illusion. He, and He alone, is the author of life and planner of my future.
Beyond feeling so torn for those I know who my news will hurt, I am joyful and terrified by turn. With 2 of our 3 known miscarriages, I have already miscarried by now (and by early next week I will be past our last landmark), so in that sense, I am feeling hopeful. I know there are never guarantees, and yet, I also know that God has a loving plan for my good and His glory.

If this news has been enough for you to digest for one reading, please stop here. But if you are feeling strong, there is a series of letters about pregnancy news and infertility that I have been planning to post for a couple of weeks now. When I decided to share this tender exchange with you all, I still had no idea that I myself was already pregnant nor how applicable and timely it would turn out to be! This is correspondence between a member of Hannah's Prayer with primary infertility, named Wendi Kitsteiner, and her best friend, Kelly Stegemoller, a mother after infertility. These women, who have graciously allowed me such an intimate look into each of their hearts, have been close since childhood. Though they lost touch for about 5 years, their infertility journeys brought them back together.

To be honest with you, I could not have been a "Wendi" when we were dealing with primary infertility. I greatly admire those who can and do react as she has, but if you aren't there right now, don't beat yourself up over it either. Just today I was in awe at the reaction of one friend who, though she has now watched me through two successful pregnancies (and two miscarriages) while still awaiting her very first, was so excited to hear my news. I told her that in her shoes I would have hung up the phone and bawled my eyes out! I pray that the world will have more sensitive "Kellys" and that whatever side of the fence you currently find yourself on, that you will be challenged and encouraged by these letters. If you want to contact Wendi or Kelly directly, Wendi's email address is and she will be happy to forward messages on to Kelly.

Kelly's first letter to Wendi:
Wendi, My heart aches and my hands shake as I very unexpectedly write this email to you.......
I am pregnant
We found out last night...I have had a feeling for weeks now and just couldn't bring myself to even believe it. I know what your reaction will be and I have tears in my eyes thinking about how you must feel and how unfair this is. Of course, we had hoped and prayed for one more child...But to be honest with you, Wen, this has taken me by complete surprise. Being the pessimist I am about all this I just truly believed our family was probably complete the way it was (and I was COMPLETELY fine with that...We are truly blessed with two little girls and I could not ask for anything more). I am baffled. Here I was almost 2 years ago doing everything right and unable to get pregnant and now here I sit with a one-year-old, still nursing her, not really trying to get pregnant (though not preventing it)...Plus I had the flu when I got pregnant.
I can't even tell you how confused I am that I was able to get pregnant naturally this time around and had to go through all that infertility treatment with Shelby. I just can't put into words how I feel...I feel as though I am in someone else's body and this can't be happening. I feel as though this should be you going through this for the first time and not me going through it for the third. I have such mixed emotions as I write you. I tossed and turned all night thinking of how I was going to tell you and thinking of your heart just dropping as you read this. I am so sorry, Wendi. I never dreamed I would be writing you an email like this. The last thing I would want to do was bring you more pain and tears today.
I know this will change things between us, but please don't feel like you can't confide in me. I still do understand what you are going through and I am here to help in any way I can. But, I do understand if you don't want to email me as much and I promise not to send you all kinds of email updates on this pregnancy. I know how hard it is to read about what you want so badly.
I love you, girl. I wish I had some words of wisdom to make this all better, but I'm still trying to take it all in myself. I hope you know that I still think of you every day and pray for this same miracle to happen for you. In a way I feel as though I don't even deserve this baby...You should be the one in my shoes right now. I don't understand......But I will keep praying for your miracle.... Don't feel like you need to write me back...I understand and respect your feelings and I can feel in my heart how sad this will make you. But, know that I am praying for you always....
Love and Hugs,

Wendi's first reply to Kelly:
Kelly,Thank you for writing me. Actually, I am sitting here writing you with a big smile on my face. Shock, yes, but such excitement that you get to experience this again without any trouble! How awesome! Please don't feel badly. I am doing really well right now and truly feel the best I have felt in a long time so this is very good timing with everything. I am really okay, and didn't cry (I promise!)
How unbelievably awesome, Kelly! And, no, this doesn't change things. The Lord has blessed you and I with a special bond and you having another child does not change your empathy for my infertility! You have been blessed with a gift in this area and nothing will ever change that. I would not stop confiding in you. You, Kristi, and my Aunt Jan are my 3 confidants and that will not change ever.
I am truly, and I say this honestly (because I feel like I could be honest) THRILLED for you. I know I am going to be a mom someday and am truly learning how to put my unborn children in the Lord Jesus' arms. I know your love for me and understanding for my situation will not change with this new one.
Bless you Kelly -- for your kindness. Your email alone illustrates that you still understand!!!!! I am so happy for you. Later, we will have to talk about how in the world this happened
Blessings -- Wendi

Kelly's second letter to Wendi:
Wendi...You are awesome! You took a huge burden off my back and I breathed a big sigh of relief when I read all that you wrote. I don't know how you can have such a big heart, but God has truly blessed you with that. I want to write more and I will, but I have been on my feet all day in Indy and I need to lay down for a bit. I just wanted to thank you for for writing. I didn't expect to hear from you and you brightened my day. Thank you for being happy for us...I am still has not all set in and I truly feel (like I said before) that this is all a dream and I am in someone else's body. It is the strangest and wierdest feeling. I am glad that you are doing well...
I pray for that every day among my other prayers for you as I know what a roller coaster that all can be... I think you are just amazing, Wendi....With all you've been through and how strong you continue to be......I will write more soon....

It was at this point in the exchange that I learned of Kelly's sensitive and loving pregnancy announcement and asked Wendi if Kelly might let me share it here on the blog.

Another letter from Kelly to Wendi:
It is absolutely okay that you shared my letter...And it is perfectly fine with me that it be used in any way to help those going through infertility. That letter was hard for me to write because as I sat and wrote it I thought of how I would have felt if I had heard that from a friend. I don't know what my reaction would have been and I was unsure of yours as well. But, my heart told me it would be okay to pour my heart out to you and be honest in my feelings.
I don't want to be one of those people that kinda forgets what they went through just because the Lord has helped me overcome it and gave me a child then and is giving me more now. There was a reason I went through all that. I am beginning to see it all more clearly now and to somewhat appreciate that journey in my life as a time where I grew in spirit and strength and learned so many things about myself and trusting the Lord.
I feel honored in a way that you think my letter to you yesterday was worthy of sharing. I was so unsure of all the words I was though nothing could really say what I feeling in my heart and wanted to say to you.....that I was happy for myself, but on the other hand really wanted this to be you too...And really wanted this to be you experiencing this for the first time, before I experienced it for the third. So, please feel free to use my letter in any way to help those who are trying to understand those like myself who have moved on from infertility, but still remember it like it was yesterday.
And I really do still feel like my journey with IF was yesterday...With this pregnancy it just all came rushing back...All that emotion and then the added emotion of how this all happened so miraculously on it's own w/o technology. It has just REALLY overwhelmed me with God's presence and power. I really never dreamed I could get pregnant again w/o help...I trusted that God could do miracles, but I think I just figured his miracle for me conceiving would lie in the hands of a doctor. This is all just truly amazing to me. I still sit here and have a hard time believing it all.
And I am amazed at how God has given you this joy for me. That is incredible that you have not even shed one tear over my news. I am so encouraged by that and feel so humbled. I don't know if my reaction would have been the same if I was in your shoes. I can truly tell your happiness for me is genuine like you said and I just feel so blessed to have you as a friend. You truly must get your strength and peace from the Lord.
And I think I needed to hear that you think I deserve to have a regular pregnancy. I think I have this sense of guilt about this pregnancy...I can't put into words why I feel that way, but I do....Like I shouldn't have gotten this blessing so easily...I should have struggled more for it like I did before. Of course, I wanted it and we are so thankful to be having a third (and final) child, but at the same time I just want "this" to happen suddenly for you as it has for me this time. Though I know it won't seem sudden to you at this point in your journey.
But, you are right, Wen. I think God is trying to tell us all something. He sure is all-powerful and for some reason he chose for me to go through what I did with Shelby and now he chose for it to happen naturally....He does have his hand in everything. Shelby will always be my special girl for I will always remember what we went through to have her. And this one (as well as Hailey) are just wonderful surprises. All are miracles in their own ways as we all know how miraculous conception is. I just feel in the deepest part of my heart that your miracle will happen this year too. Maybe it will happen through the help of science, maybe it will happen in it's own way. I think we just need to keep trusting that God will reveal things in his own way and time (as hard as that is).
Wendi, thank you! You genuine happiness for me means more to me than anything. I will send you updates as I write them as I'm sure you know how appreciative I am of this miracle...It has and will not be taken for granted. And I hope and pray you will still share your heart with me too. I have not forgotten (nor will I ever forget) the infertility journey. And, yes, it is okay to cry. I learned that too awhile back....And I do hope that if any of my pregnancy gets to be too much for you that you will tell me. I appreciate your honesty and your heartfelt words...

I am in awe of how much my feeling and experiences mirror Kelly's right now. And to think, that even back when I asked Wendi's permission to share all of this, God knew how fitting it would be as part of my own story, while I was yet clueless! What a big God we serve.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

What a week!

I will be recording two, 10-minute interviews segments on Thursday morning (June 9, 8:30 Pacific) for WCRV of Memphis. We don't yet know when this program will air, but when it does it will be hear in 7 states (click here to see if we will reach your area). I'll post more when I know air dates. If you read this entry in time to pray during the interview, I am thankful for any prayer coverage you can share!

This has been a crazy week in the Saake household. As one of several issues to make it an interesting week, the builder of our new home (we've lived here six months) is finally coming back to fix the "minor" shower leak that has been a problem since we moved in. As of this mornign we are locked out of our master bathroom for an anticipated 2 weeks of demolition, cleaning and rebuilding. So far tile has been knocked out, the doorframe to the closet removed, carpet and padding pulled up, and I'm not even sure whatelse has happened behind the tripple plastic protective barrier that now marks the archway into our bathroom. Life is never dull!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Getting Some Press

It seems so very strange to talk of press releases and radio interviews, but this is my new reality. No, I'm certainly not a superstar, and though my friends like to tease me about it, I don't have to hide from the paparazzi! But there is so much more to writing a book than just writing a book. I had no idea what all was entailed in post-production marketing! While I'm thrilled by the way God is opening some big doors, things get more than a bit overwhelming at times. I covet your prayers for wisdom in what to say when God gives me a platform, balance in knowing what invitations to accept and decline, stamina and physical health, ability to keep my family my priority, and grace to let God shine through me in all of this.

Laura Christianson, a freelance writer specializing in adoption-related issues, and a long-time Hannah's Prayer/Ladies In Waiting member, was kind enough to highlight Hannah's Hope in her blog just before HH hit the market. You will miss a lot if you only read her review of my book, so be sure to keep reading through some of her great categories such as Adoption and Infertility Ministry, Infertility Issues (Why Infertility Isn't Discussed in Church, Ways to Encourage an Infertile Friend), Adoption and Infertility in the Bible and many other great adoption related entries.

Focus on the Family generously spotlighted two brief interviews with me on recent Weekend Magazine broadcasts. The target audience for this program is parents of children ages 0-12, so be prepared for a lot of parenting-related topics, but if you would like to listen to my segments, go to Weekend Magazine Archives and select the May 14 program (miscarriage interview begins at 48:45 on Windows Media player) and May 21 (infertility topic started at 5:20 on Windows Media or runs from 6:28 to 9:04 on Real Player). If you enjoy these spots, please be sure to let Focus on the Family know that you are thankful for their focus on infertility and miscarriage, list the air dates, mention me or the book Hannah's Hope by name if you want, and ask them to make infertility a priority on future broadcasting.

I am working on a few magazine articles at the moment and would appreciate your prayers for wisdom and clarity in writing interesting articles, favor with magazine editors, and ease in marketing. I'll keep you posted as these go to print.

Reviewers Needed

Hannah's Hope hit bookstore shelves exactly one week after Mother's Day, May 15, 2005, appropriately enough, Mother's-In-Waiting Day. So far I've found the book in my local Christian bookstore, in Borders, and know it can be special ordered from Barnes & Noble. It is also available through most bookstore websites such as CBD, Amazon, Parable bookstores (and ministry websites affiliated with Parable), and many more. I would greatly appreciate it if you would be able to take a few minutes and visit some online sites where you can leave positive feedback for the book. Most let you either add a ranking (5 stars, 5 cups of coffee, etc.) and/or write out an actual review. Both forms of feedback are helpful for book sales. Here are a few examples:

Nav Press (my publisher) Click on "see customer reviews" then select "add review". You can also "add a rating" on this site. (CBD) - scroll down to "Customer Reviews

Amazon - under "product details" look for "write a review" after the "average customer review" ranking line, or go on down to the actual "customer reviews" category and click on "write an online review.

Barnes & Noble - scroll down to "About the book" then "customer reviews" provides a "write your own online review" link.

Target, scroll down to "Guest Reviews" then "Write an online review.", scroll down to "customer reviews". They even pay you 5 cents for the review.

The first person to post a review at gets a $5 gift certificate there!

Thanks so much for all your help. If you know of other places to write an online review, please post them here!

Learning to Blog

Rick, my wonderful husband who created this beautiful site for me, says I need to get active with blogging. I must admit to being quite overwhelmed with this task. I only recently even learned that "blog" is short for "web log" so you can tell that this really isn't my forte! What do I have to say? What would you find worth reading? Are my ramblings really worth putting into print? How can I stand in the company of blogs like the one belonging to my friend Sandra Glahn (

But I have to trust the guy. After all, it was his foresight that took my simple idea for a small, local support group for a few families struggling with fertility challenges in northern California and created the website. It's hard to argue with that kind of success. So, if Rick says I need to blog, blog I will!

I would love your feedback. What are you looking for in my journal entries? What do you want to know about? What would you like to hear? Do you want details about my daily life? About my family? Devotional reflections on infertility and loss? Updates about my book? My thought is that this blog will contain some of all of the above, but if you have specific questions or input, please share!

Since it was Rick who "got me into this" I'm going to give a plug for him now. Didn't he do an incredible job with the design of this site? If you like his work, be sure to check out his web design business at

Sunday, April 17, 2005

What's infertility all about?

- More than six million people of childbearing age in the US experience infertility each year (
- There is a wide range of educated guesswork about
miscarriage statistics , but it is generally accepted that at least one in three pregnancies end in miscarriage.
- One child out of every 115 births is stillborn (
Wisconsin Stillbirth Service Program).
- Not quite 2 percent of adoptions, nationwide, are contested (Sierra Adoption Services as quoted by
The Union Newspaper) while many more forms of “adoption loss” happen long before families actually bring children into their homes.

These may just seem like useless numbers, unless or until you are personally touched by such circumstances. In the ten years Rick and I were actively striving to build our family, we lived most of these experiences (other than stillbirth) and found the painful realities represented by such statistics. My journals are designed to share my heart, my reflections, and my growth through this journey, including adventures in parenthood after infertility and loss. Here you will also find special announcements related to my books, media spots, travel plans and speaking engagements.